Houston Child Support Lawyer

Child Support Attorney in Houston, Texas

Getting the correct amount of child support in Texas can be tricky whether you are going through a divorcechild custody and visitation, or a modification case. Let a skilled Houston child support lawyer evaluate your case so your children can get the support they need.  Shawn M. Rudisel is a recognized Houston child support attorney with the tools to get you the money you deserve.

Child Support Lawyer in Houston, TX

Child Support and the Texas Family Code

Texas Family Code, Chapter 154, has child support guidelines that recommend that the non-primary Joint Managing Conservators (parents who do not have custody of the child or children) pay a certain percentage of his or her net resources in child support. “Net resources” is defined as all income after taxes (including overtime pay), social security, union dues, and health care insurance for the children are subtracted.  If a person is remarried, their new spouse’s income cannot be included in the parent’s net resources.  The guidelines provide for the following percentages, depending on the number of children involved that are “before the court”:

  • One child –  20%
  • Two children – 25%
  • Three children – 30%
  • Four children – 35%
  • Five children – 40%
  • Six or more children – not less than five children

The chart below (Chart A) calculates the correct percentage of child support applied to monthly resources when the responsible party has other children he or she is obligated to support.  Obligated to support means that a person is ordered to pay support for that child, is the child’s biological parent, and that child lives with that parent or has been adopted by the parent.   Living with a significant other who has children will not affect the amount of support a person will be ordered to pay.

Once a person’s net resources are calculated, Texas law allows a deduction for the following items:

  • Social Security taxes
  • Federal income taxes are based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction;
  • State income tax
  • Union dues
  • Health insurance coverage for the obligor’s child

The court can vary from these guidelines if it finds unusual circumstances warranting higher or lower support. These percentage guidelines apply only to the first $9,200.00 of the obligor’s net monthly resources. The court presumes that the appropriate percentage of $9,200.00 is adequate support for children, and it is up to the receiving parent to provide evidence to the court that the children need more. If the paying parent nets significantly more than $9,200.00 per month and the children’s needs justify higher child support, the court may order higher support. The court typically orders the child-support-paying spouse to pay for the children’s medical insurance. Uninsured medical expenses, including co-pays or deductible amounts, are generally paid equally by each parent. The custodial parent’s income may be considered when setting child support, but it will often have little effect. Your Houston child support lawyer will be able to determine your support payment based on the Texas Family Code.

Child Support Calculator (Chart A)

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines

# of Children Before the Court
# of other children
Obligor must support
Percentage Applied to Net Monthly Income

Support and Visitation

Texas Law makes it clear that child support and visitation are independent issues.  That means when a parent has been denied access to a child, he or she must still pay their monthly child support obligation. Likewise,  if a parent has failed to pay child support as ordered, the other parent must allow visitation.  You may need to file an enforcement action to correct the bad behavior in these situations. Speak with a Houston Visitation Enforcement Attorney today to learn how.

FAQs on Houston Child Support

How much does a child support lawyer cost in Texas?

The cost of a child support lawyer in Texas can vary depending on factors like the complexity of the case and the attorney’s experience. Hourly rates typically range from $200 to $500 per hour, and some attorneys may charge a flat fee for specific services. During your initial consultation, it’s best to discuss fees and payment structures directly with your lawyer.

How much does a child custody lawyer cost in Texas?

The cost of a child custody lawyer in Texas depends on the complexity of your case. Rates generally range from $200 to $500 per hour. Costs may increase if the case requires mediation, court appearances, or involves disputes like relocation or custody modification. Flat fees or retainers might also apply in some situations.

What is the maximum child support in Texas for one child?

In Texas, the maximum child support for one child is based on a percentage of the paying parent’s net resources. For one child, the standard guideline is 20% of the parent’s net resources, capped at $9,200 per month. Thus, the maximum child support for one child is $1,840 per month (20% of $9,200).

Can I file for child support without a lawyer in Texas?

Yes, you can file for child support without a lawyer in Texas. The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division provides free assistance to parents seeking child support. You can apply online or visit a local office for help. However, hiring an attorney may be beneficial for complex cases to protect your rights and interests.

What is the new child support law in Texas for 2024?

In 2024, the Texas legislature has made adjustments to child support laws. These include updated guidelines and a focus on enforcing back child support payments more strictly. Consult with a family law attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information on how the new laws affect your situation.

Who pays child support in 50/50 custody in Texas?

In Texas, even in 50/50 custody arrangements, one parent may still be ordered to pay child support if there’s a significant difference in income between the parents. The court ensures that both parents contribute equitably to the child’s needs. The parent with the higher income is typically ordered to pay support.

How to not pay child support in Texas?

If a court has legally ordered it, you cannot avoid paying child support. However, you can seek a modification if your financial circumstances have changed significantly. Common reasons include job loss, disability, or a significant decrease in income. You must file a petition to modify child support and provide evidence of your changed circumstances.

Can child support be negotiated in Texas?

Yes, child support can be negotiated in Texas if both parents agree to a different arrangement than the standard guidelines. However, the court must approve any agreement to ensure it serves the child’s best interests. If an agreement can’t be reached, the court will determine the support amount based on the guidelines.

Does back child support ever go away in Texas?

No, back child support, also known as arrears, does not go away in Texas. Even after the child turns 18, unpaid child support remains collectible. Courts may enforce payment through wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and other methods. However, parents can negotiate a settlement or payment plan with the assistance of a family law attorney.

Does the custodial parent’s income matter for child support in Texas?

The custodial parent’s income generally does not impact the child support ordered in Texas. Child support is primarily based on the non-custodial parent’s income and resources. However, the court may consider both parents’ financial situations in unique cases involving extraordinary expenses.

Does parenting time affect child support in Texas?

Yes, parenting time can affect child support in Texas. While standard guidelines are based on a typical visitation schedule, significant deviations from standard visitation (such as extended periods of custody) may reduce the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation.

Can child support take 50 percent of paycheck in Texas?

Texas law limits the amount of disposable income that can be garnished for child support to 50% if the paying parent is supporting another child or spouse or up to 60% if not supporting another child or spouse. Additional percentages may apply if the parent is behind on payments.

Why you need a Houston child support attorney on your side

Getting the correct amount of support is not always easy, even though the Texas Family Code guidelines are straightforward.  Often,  a Houston child support attorney must know where to look for the other parent’s income.  Once income is found, it must be presented to the court admissible so the judge can set the correct amount of support.  It is not uncommon for divorcing parents to try and hide overtime pay, bonuses, and other sources of revenue.

Contact Shawn M. Rudisel, your Houston Child Support Lawyer here at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., for a complimentary consultation to discuss Child Support and its effects on a Divorce in Houston, Texas.

Contact Today for Your Free Case Evaluation. 713-781-7775

For a qualified Houston Child Support Lawyer, call The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. We have the knowledge, trial experience, and professional staff necessary to protect you, your family, and your property.